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Regime Shifts: Doctoral Essay
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2322-5459
2011 (English)In: Wikipedia, 2011Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Regime shifts are large, abrupt, persistent changes in the structure and function of a system(Biggs et al. 2009). A regime is a characteristic behavior of a system which is maintained bymutually reinforced processes or feedbacks. Regimes are considered persistent relative to thetime period over which the shift occurs. The change of regimes, or a regime shift, usually occurswhen a gradual change in an internal process (feedback) or a single disturbance (externalshocks) triggers a completely different system behavior (Scheffer et al. 2001, Beisner et al.2003, Scheffer and Carpenter 2003, Folke et al. 2004). Although such non-linear change havebeen widely studied in different disciplines ranging from atoms to climate dynamics(Feudel2008); regime shifts have gained importance in ecology because they can substantially alter theflow of ecosystem services to societies (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, Biggs et al.2009); such as provision of food, clean water or climate regulation. Moreover, the frequency ofregime shifts is expected to increase as human domination on the Earth’s processes continuesto expand -the anthropocene-, modifying climate, biogeochemical cycles, land cover, andspecies distribution (Steffen et al. 2007, Rockström et al. 2009).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
regime shifts
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90074OAI: diva2:622435
Available from: 2013-05-21 Created: 2013-05-21 Last updated: 2013-05-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Regime Shifts in the Anthropocene
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Regime Shifts in the Anthropocene
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Regime shifts are large, abrupt and often hard to reverse changes in the function and structure of socal-ecological systems. These regime shifts have been documented in a broad range of systems and scales both in marine, terrestrial and polar ecosystems. Regime shifts have attracted the attention of scientists, managers and policy makers because they substantially affect the flow of ecosystem services that society relies on. Despite their re|evance in the face of climate change or increasing pressure of the anthropocene, little is understood about the overall patterns of regime shifts causation and impacts for human well being. This licentiate thesis summarises the first steps towards a global assessment of regime shifts. Paper I is a literature review that attempts to synthesise the state of the art of regime shifts theory, its application in different disciplines, and frontiers of research. Paper II outlines a framework developed to study and compare regime shifts across different systems and scales, namely the Regime Shifts Database. Paper III investigates the patterns of drivers co-occurrence, and outlines the opportunities and challenges for management of regime shifts. The three papers together propose a new approach to study regime shifts that combines system thinking and tools from network science to analyze phenomena where knowledge about causal mechanisms, opportunities for experimentation and time series data are limited or unavailable. The discussion reflects upon the limitation and opportunities of our approach and outlines the guidelines for future developments of my PhD project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2013. 59 p.
regime shifts, critical transitions, network analysis, dynamic tipping points
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science; Systems Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89951 (URN)
2013-06-03, 312, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Kräftriket 2B, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Formas, 2009-6966-13949-41
Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2013-05-17 Last updated: 2014-10-16Bibliographically approved

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Rocha, Juan Carlos
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